Saturday 06 June 2020

Romanians hit by coronavirus worked for meat processing firm

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The group of eastern Europeans who developed coronavirus and were quarantined on a river boat in Arnhem worked for meat processing giant Vion, the Telegraaf said on Monday.

Some 1,100 people work at Vion’s meat processing plant in Scherpenzeel, some 900 of whom are employed on temporary contracts via staffing agencies, the paper said.

Spokeswoman Nancy Aschman said the company is doing all it can to prevent the virus infecting more members of the workforce and that health experts are sure there is no danger of the virus spreading through eating bacon or other pork products.

The plant, one of four in the Netherlands, produces meat and bacon for the British, Japanese, American, Canadian and Australian markets.

‘You cannot do our work from home and the food processing industry is, like healthcare, one of the sectors which has not stopped,’ she told local broadcaster Omroep Gelderland. ‘We have taken every measure possible to make sure that people can keep a 1.5 metre distance, such as plastic screens and a different shift pattern. In addition, everyone with symptoms has to remain home.’

In total 28 mainly Romanian migrant workers who have been diagnosed with coronavirus have been moved onto a boat moored next to an industrial estate in Arnhem while they recover from the disease.

The group lived in a complex of three houses in Velp and all worked for the same staffing agency. The other 21 residents have been told to stay in quarantine for 14 days.

Unions and migrant rights groups have warned that the cramped accommodation which many staffing agency workers live in is making it impossible to take social distancing measures.

DutchNews.nl has contacted Vion for comment. The company booked net profit of €26.6m last year as exports to China soared by 30%.

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